The new albums by Mark Knopfler and Joni Mitchell have distracted me repeatedly in the last weeks. I’ve liked both artists’ work for a long time. Now I’m stuck with deciding which of these excellent new releases I should have playing at any one time…I’m alternating just to make it easier.
Songs are usually open to differing interpretations; if they are not, they’re usually strident. Strident is not a fitting description for “Punish the Monkey,” but it is open to interpretation. In Mr. Knopfler’s first verse, there might be reference to D. Rumsfeld (nailing coffins) and in a later verse there might be a reference to A. Gonzales (lawyer, quid-pro-quo). The chorus is quite clear: “Let the organ grinder go.” Who’s the organ grinder?
I am glad to hear the re-emergence of commentaries in their songs. These folks have some things to say. To be sure, many artists have released songs that correspond with my point of view recently (and years ago). Still, I encouge both readers of this blog to start with “Punish the Monkey” and “If I had a Heart.” Keep going.